The Big Apple is apparently on the precipice of a new era as a king is about to be dethroned. According to a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the New York Rangers are planning to buy out the contract of longtime goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has spent his entire 15-year NHL playing career as a member of the Eastern Conference franchise.
While the Rangers are now primed to head in a different direction between the pipes moving forward, it remains to be seen as to whether “King Henrik” continues his professional tenure in North America elsewhere. A soon-to-be free agent if a buyout is ultimately executed by the Rangers, Lundqvist will surely garner at least some interest on the open market, whether it be as a starter or backup, though hanging up his skates could also be an option before the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
The buyout of the final season of his seven-year, $59.5 million deal that commenced in 2014-15, orchestrated in concert with Lundqvist, has created an additional $3 million of 2020-21 cap space for the Blueshirts, who are awash with just over $23 million of it in the aftermath of Marc Staal’s trade to the Red Wings. The buyout will add $1.5 million in dead space for 2021-22.
Over the course of his 15 seasons as a member of the Rangers, the 38-year-old Sweden native Lundqvist helped lead New York to 11 trips to the playoffs in his first 12 years to coincide with 11 playoff series victories and an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final by way of an Eastern Conference Championship back in 2014-15.
The veteran net-minder also managed to produce Rangers franchise records with 459 wins, 64 shutouts, 61 postseason victories and a Vezina Trophy in 2011-12. Lundqvist was synonymous with the Rangers during his long tenure in New York.